N.J. High School Rejects Armed Patriot Photo Shoot

high school photography project new jersy

Joshua Bruner’s photo. Not safe for school. (Photo: Bruner/Fox News)

New Jersey’s Hunterdon Central Regional High School rejected one student’s photography project by 15-year old Joshua Bruner, claiming that it violated school policy. Bruner’s project included a self-portrait of the boy on top of an off-roader, carrying a flag into the wind and posing with his shotgun.

Although young, Bruner is a lifetime member of the NRA, a competitive shooter and a Marine hopeful. With the help of friends he staged the photo shoot as part of an assignment in his photography class to produce a self-portrait to express himself.

Speaking to Todd Starnes at Fox News his mother Darcy Meys said that “Josh considers himself to be a patriot. He loves his country.”

In the end, the school offered a compromise, to accept and grade the photography project but not to put it on display online with other students’ projects.

“He will not be able to upload the image to our server, post them to his Google site or display them in his presentation,” said his teacher, according to the report. “We would like to recognize his work on the portrait but limit the possibility that the photo can be taken out of context.”

See Also: Indoor Shooting Range Opens to Students in North Carolina High School

“Josh was just showing pride for his country and who he is as a shooter and as a kid who wants to be in the Marines and protect his country and follow in his grandfather’s footsteps,” said his mother. “They are crushing his spirit. They are stifling his creativity.”

Unfortunately, the school’s policy prevents any display of any student or anyone else with any weapons. At the same time youth shooting programs are increasingly popular across the country thanks to organizations like the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF).

Sporting clays and other shotgun games are quickly gaining a following across the country, even overtaking basketball in Minnesota as the second most popular high school sport after football.

The SSSF works with schools and students in over 40 states and helps provide a path for youths looking to compete in the Olympic games. As of last year over 13,000 students were enrolled in SSSF shooting programs.

“What separates shooting sports from stick-and-ball sports is that when it’s time for our kids to go to a tournament, all the kids can compete—heavy, thin, tall, short, fast, slow, boy or girl—it doesn’t make them any different,” said Tom Wondrash, SSSF national director to the Washington Times. “That’s what really lends itself to our sport.”

With shooting sports returning to schools as extra-curricular activities these hard-line zero-tolerance policies will only draw more public ire. It’s hard to imagine anyone taking this photo out of context—it’s just a kid, being proud and looking cool.

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • larry August 3, 2016, 9:05 pm

    The media and most educators seem to be liberals. What would you expect? A picture of a gun offends people. The same people find pictures of an aborted baby OK. Makes NO sense at all.

  • ashay June 24, 2016, 6:15 pm

    I am okay with not allowing it to be seen. Gun violence in school is a scary reality and Central lost students in the Virginia Tech shooting. I shoot guns myself, but don’t feel threatened or violated that my rights or this student’s rights have been violated. I doubt this boy was “crushed.” People need to stop making mountains out of mole hills. When a school does a lock down, and it preps faculty and students for a shooter; it’s a sad reality we deal with daily. Better to lean toward not giving the appearance of something than to show a picture that can be misconstrued.

  • Grandpa Dino June 17, 2016, 10:23 pm

    If this young man had been flying the homosexual flag, his school would have put his photo on page one. Hypocrites!

    • steve June 18, 2016, 8:15 pm

      to be fair, a gay pride flag is not a weapon. if he took the exact same picture(including the shotgun) but replaced the American flag with a rainbow flag, I can’t imagine any way in hell the outcome would have been different.

      • Michael June 20, 2016, 2:44 pm

        Hate to disagree, but the gay pride flag is most definitely a weapon. It just doesn’t fire a projectile.

        It is being used to destroy the 1st Amendment, marginalize Christians, and force policy changes that will decrease your personal safety.

  • Gary Benoit June 17, 2016, 1:49 pm

    I graduated from a New Jersey high school in 1970. While still in school, my friends and I shot rifles competitively. We wanted to compete as a school team, so I spoke to our principal. I explained that we had a sponsor, a place to shoot, and that our rifles would never need to be anywhere near school. All we needed was permission to use the school name. Principal Aho shut me down flat, saying that the school had no desire to be connected with guns in any form. I guess 45+ haven’t changed anything and administrative bigotry is alive and well.

  • SuperG June 17, 2016, 1:29 pm

    So sad that this was an American school where this happened. I can only imagine that the painting Washington Crossing The Delaware would be banned as well, since it shows a sword and a rifle. My apologies to all the Americans who fought and died for this country, but know that we are not all pacifist boot-lickers afraid of the guns that won our freedom.

  • gonzo gonzales June 17, 2016, 11:05 am

    there is no possible way to convert a fool – any one who seeks to be insulted shall be
    this also applies to politics and personal rights, if you decide that you are right, you do not wish to be confused with facts

  • Mr Sparkles June 17, 2016, 10:32 am

    In one fell swoop the school attacked both the 2nd AND the 1st amendment to the Constitution. The right to express oneself is not limited by the schools tolerance of a student’s “self” portrait. Maybe he should have been riding the vehicle in a romantic embrace with one of his male class mates. That would have been accepted as tolerance of an “alternate” lifestyle.

  • Chuck June 17, 2016, 7:46 am

    Just goes to show how far the commie indoctrination has come in our school system. I have watched this for years and am certain this is a national problem.

  • Chris June 17, 2016, 6:05 am

    Schools are a main source of indoctrination in the U.S. its pretty sickening what some of these nutjobs can get away with. Weapons are a major part of our history going back to the dawn of man. Leftist radicals want to play “pretend they dont exsist”.

  • Tar Heel Realist June 17, 2016, 5:23 am

    I’m sure if this kid was dressed in drag and had dildos in both hands the School wouldn’t have objected…

  • DRAINO June 16, 2016, 10:53 am

    WOW! Express yourself…but not that way….???!!!! Holy Crap! Can they confuse a kid anymore than that? This common core crap has to go!!!!

    • YEPPUM June 16, 2016, 3:30 pm

      I think it is even more confusing to any sane person as to why this should be an issue. Gun + school equals a no go.
      I bet if the person was holding a gay pride flag you would be up in arms, so to speak, and boy howdy how could that ever be allowed. Schools have been censoring kids since the beginning of time. Its to get you desensitized and ready for life in the USA as an adult. Get over it.

      • Yeppumsdildo June 17, 2016, 9:02 am

        It’s a picture, not a gun, he took to school. I graduated in the last few years, guess what….pictures of guns are in history books too. Pretty confident those were war movies we watched in class as well or maybe I’m confusing them for the slavery and Native American movies we also watched. Think the school library cleansed itself of every gun picture or description in virtually any history book too? How about the cop who patrols the halls, sure looks like a gun on his hip. I forgot, a uniform and badge makes it ok to have a gun anywhere….didn’t i just see that creep from Orlando shooting in a NYPD shirt? Censoring only puts you behind the curve for life as an adult. It’s the primary contributor to why we have a growing population of overly sensitive and weak minded citizens. I hope you hold your pride flag high and wave it proudly, you’re much easier to avoid that way. I don’t have to look at you, touch you, hear, feel, or smell you….just like a picture.

    • chucka June 17, 2016, 4:19 am

      They are taking it out of context.
      How about profiling, I thought that was against the law ! !

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